The Indiana Citizen

The Crossroads of Civic Engagement

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GERALD TORR

Republican Birth Date: 11/28/57

House District 39 is comprised of a large portion of Hamilton County’s Clay Township and includes parts of the city of Carmel, one of the wealthiest in the nation with a median household income of $94,644. The state’s median is $54,325.

The district’s overwhelmingly Republican constituency has allowed its 13-term state representative, Jerry Torr, to carry some of the state’s most pro-business and anti-union legislation in recent decades with little fear of electoral backlash. Torr was the author of the right-to-work law which drew thunderous throngs of union protesters to the Statehouse in 2011, as well as the repeal of the “prevailing wage” law, which allowed a board of contractors and taxpayers to set baseline wages for public construction projects worth more than $350,000.

During his tenure, Torr also has gained attention for his push against gerrymandering, sponsoring legislation to create an independent panel to draw legislative districts every 10 years. In 2019, he faced  criticism for providing title insurance and closing services for Spectacle Entertainment’s purchase of two Indiana casinos and then voting for legislation to allow Spectacle to move the casinos to more lucrative locations. Torr voluntarily gave up his estimated $3,000 to $4,000 commission from the deal with Spectacle prior to the vote.

Despite the region’s history of GOP dominance, its high percentage of college graduates has shown some movement toward moderation in the Trump era, especially on social issues. Hamilton County dumped incumbent state Sen. Mike Delph, a conservative stalwart, in 2018 in favor of Democrat J.D. Ford, the first openly gay man elected to the state legislature.

Torr has a mixed record on LGBTQ rights. He opposed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Indiana in 2014 but voted for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and for a hate crimes law that LGBTQ advocates said didn’t go far enough. The law allows judges to enhance sentences for certain hate crimes but doesn’t provide explicit enhancements for crimes related to a victim’s gender identity, gender or age. Torr’s opponent in 2020, Ashley Klein, would have become the first openly lesbian member of the Indiana General Assembly; Torr won reelection over Klein with about 54 percent of the general election vote after a campaign that ranked among the state’s most expensive for a House seat. – Greg Weaver

CONTACT INFORMATION

(800) 382-9841
200 West Washington Street Indianapolis, IN 46204
http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/legislators/legislator_jerry_torr_117

EDUCATION

  • Graduated, Guitar Performance/Orchestration/Composition, Musician's Institute at Hollywood, 1977-1978
  • Attended, Physics/Sociology/Psychology/Music, Hanover College, 1976-1977

COMMITTEES

Judiciary (Chair), Rules and Legislative Procedures, Joint Rules, Elections and Apportionment, Employment, Labor and Pensions

KEY VOTES

SB 198-2019 (Sentencing, bias crimes). Allowed longer sentences in crimes based on personal characteristics, stripped of references to sexual orientation, gender identity and race. Yes

SB 516-2019 (Regulation of hemp). Allowed cultivation and regulation of hemp products in Indiana, did not change marijuana laws. Yes

HB 1001-2019 (State budget). Set funding for state agencies and services, including 2.5% annual increases for education, though not directly for teacher salaries. Yes

HB 1004-2019 (School safety). Increased access to funding for security systems and resource officers, was stripped of provisions for mental health screening. Excused

HB 1015-2019 (Various gaming matters). Allowed sports betting statewide and table games in more casinos, relocated a casino in Gary and authorizing a new one in Terre Haute. Yes

SB 1-2020 (Tobacco and vaping). Raised from 18 to 21 the legal age to buy tobacco or vaping products in Indiana. Yes

SB 148-2020 (Zoning and housing matters). Was amended to overrule local tenant protection measures like those in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Merrillville. Vetoed by governor. Yes

HB 1004-2020 (Health matters). Controlled surprise billing for out-of-network and other costs. Yes

HB 1070-2020 (Distracted driving). Made it an infraction to handle a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Yes

HB 1414-2020 (Electric generation). Prohibited utilities from closing coal-fired generating plants without permission from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. No

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

House Republican Campaign Committee, $2,500

Indiana Bankers Association, $2,500

Indiana Manufactured Housing / RV Indiana Council $1,300

NAIFA Indiana South, $1,300

Indiana Association of Realtors,  $1,000

RATINGS

Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 100
Indiana Manufacturers Association Lifetime Positions 84
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions (4 Year Average) 97
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions 97
LEAP Forward Positions (Indianna) 7
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Positions 44
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Lifetime Positions 30
National Rifle Association Candidate Positions on Gun Rights 100
Indiana AFL-CIO Positions 30
Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 87

PROFESSIONAL CAREER

National account manager, Near North Title Group

DISTRICT

Population: 64,353

Race/Ethnic Origin: 87.8% white, 2.6% black, 6.9% Asian, 0.9% other, 1.7% two or more; 86.1% white non-Hispanic, 2.6% Hispanic